Disabled employment support clients could be badly hit by the uncertainty over the future of a specialist welfare-to-work programme for the group, Shaw Trust has warned.
The trust was reacting to the government’s failure to confirm the future of Work Choice in a key statement on its welfare-to-work policy yesterday.
Work Choice, which combines a number of existing programmes, was conceived by the Labour government and was due to start in October, with Shaw Trust, among others, selected as preferred providers for the programme.
However, the coalition government has failed to confirm whether Work Choice will continue or be merged into the Work Programme, its single, overarching welfare-to-work scheme due to start next year.
Shaw Trust has already invested £500,000 in preparing for Work Choice, and its chief executive, Sally Burton, said she was “disappointed” by the ongoing uncertainty. She said this could adversely affect existing clients of programmes such as Workstep, which is due to be merged into Work Choice.
Burton added: “This is now time critical and there are two key issues with the delay. The first is the sheer scale of implementing a new programme and the second is safeguarding the interests of our existing clients.
“If Work Choice is confirmed within the next two weeks, we can meet the October deadline. If not, we need to undertake some scenario planning.”
She said that the trust met with disability minister Maria Miller last week to discuss the issue.
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